About Our Hay Meadows

High Borrowdale is situated in a locality described by Wainwright as “the most beautiful valley outside the Lake District”, however the valley is now part of the Lake District thanks to the national park extension in 2016. Through the extensive work of our volunteers this land has been transformed into a stunning landscape haven for wildlife and people. We have re-created two upland hay meadows, restored two barns, stabilised a derelict farm house, re-built 5km of dry stone wall and planted 10,000 native trees - ash, oak, rowan, holly, hawthorn, alder and willow - to enhance the habitats and landscape and help stabilise erosion.

Both meadows are proving to be successful; with Natural England suggesting the oldest one is now of SSSI restored quality. The upland hay meadows will greatly increase biodiversity in the area, and support some of our rarest plant species.  Our researchers have recorded the history of people in this landscape back to the 1100s, and we survey the ecology of this land every five years. This land has been dedicated as open access land so everyone can enjoy it in perpetuity.

Reasons to visit: 

  • Visit our two stunning hay meadows (end of June, early July) 
  • Seek out peace and tranquillity, with the only sound being the tumbling Borrow Beck, birds and sometimes sheep.
  • Visit and picture the old farmhouse and wonder how life there used to be
  • Link a walk to High Borrowdale with a circular walk of the surrounding tops of Whinash and Whinfell.

Flood Resilience Research - September 2021

In extreme weather in winter, landslides continue to occur on the steep sides of the valley at High Borrowdale and so, with the University of Cumbria, we have funded and carried out a major research project investigating the efficacy of different geotextiles in stabilising soil on the steep gill sides at High Borrowdale.

In 2018, Prof Lois Mansfield began work exploring the landslide issues we faced on our land at High Borrowdale. This initial investigation outlined why our land at High Borrowdale was particularly susceptible and described a plan for a pilot research project to stabilise slopes using natural geotextiles. In this summary of her final report, Lois reports back on the outcomes of the three-year project and what has been learnt.

Read it here>
Soil Stabilisation Research Outcomes - A Summary
By Prof Lois Mansfield, University of Cumbria


High Borrowdale is situated 8.5 miles north of Kendal. The best way to access it is from the A6, south of Shap.

You can park at the layby at Hucks Brow (GR552038). From there there is a walk on of a mile or so along a bridleway to the south of the river. Walk up the road from the layby and on the bend take the bridleway east. You reach High Borrowdale after you have crossed the bridge. Access by public transport is v limited.


Open access at all times.

More information

Flood Resilience Research - September 2021

See images from the High Borrowdale hay meadows webcam

Restoring the hay meadows at High Borrowdale (pdf)

The bees of High Borrowdale (pdf)

Buy a hay meadow gift

The history of a Westmorland Farm - (pdf)

The story of High Borrowdale - (pdf)

This property  benefits from a Higher Level Stewardship Scheme, funded by the ‘European Agricultural Fund for Rural Development’ which enables us to do habitat and landscape enhancement.